Monday, March 8, 2010

Through My Eyes Only….To See or Not to See

What’s real when we all have different perspectives? Is there some objective reality out there? And even if there is, does that matter since we each have our own view of reality?

Understanding that we have different perspectives seems especially pertinent when it comes to relationships. Let’s say Amy thinks Jim isn’t paying enough attention to her and Jim thinks they spend too much time together. What’s real? What would other people see? A friend might see that Jim is paying attention and tell Amy that maybe she’s wanting more than is reasonable. The friend might tell Amy to ask for what she thinks she needs instead of just being annoyed. Jim might see Amy as angry and cold. Amy is being cold because she’s hurt, and so tries to manipulate more attention from Jim, but that doesn’t seem to be working.

This is all too complex for me. So what is real, the friends more objective view? The friend’s view can’t be the whole story because they don’t get to see all that goes on between Amy and Jim. Jim and Amy’s views are a problem because their emotions blur their vision and make things even more complex. It’s a miracle we humans cope at all. But we do. We do because of our ability to imagine life from someone else’s perspective. This can open our eyes and clear our vision.

In the case of relationships maybe the question of reality doesn’t matter so much as being able to see through the eyes of the other. When we are open to other points of view, we are expanding our own. This expansion is also a part of a storyteller’s ability to create characters. So practice this in both your writing and in your life. I guarantee things will be less dramatic in your life and more dramatic in your works of art.


  1. Love this post. It is true that different perspectives lead to all kinds of turmoil and problems. Reality is within them all, I suppose. But it takes some compassion, imagination and skill to be able to transcend yourself beyond your own eyes into someone else's.

  2. Thank you for the insightful comment.